30 years and counting

The first issue of the Voice was published in winter, 1986, and it has published continually since then.  For this 30th anniversary edition, the Voice invited several distinguished members of the university community from across the system to reflect backwards and especially forwards.   These articles appear here and in future editions.   Also we reprint some still-pertinent articles from the inaugural issue.   It was founded with a grant from the Federation of Maryland Teachers, and with the enthusiast support of William (Brit) Kirwan, then Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost.

Since its inception, the Voice has been an independent voice.    Articles in the Voice are contributed by faculty and other members of the university community, and the editors contribute their time and effort.   The Voice is appreciative of the support, in readership and in contributed articles, it has received over the years from the university community across the System, and looks forward to continuing to publish opinion and creative efforts of our community.

50 Years of Tackling Tough Challenges

By Freeman Hrabowski
President, UMBC

hrabUMBC was founded at a time of intense growth in Maryland and great turbulence around the country. Our university is historically diverse – the first public institution in Maryland created to serve students of all races. We were created in large part to serve and to strengthen the Baltimore region. And our structure was non-traditional, with a master plan that focused on collaboration across departments. We attracted some of the best young scholars in the country, drawn to the idea of creating a new model for the modern university. Continue Reading »50 Years of Tackling Tough Challenges

The Case for Community Engagement

By Jay A. Perman, MD
President, University of Maryland, Baltimore

permanTo commemorate the 30th anniversary of The Faculty Voice, I was asked to look back on the last three decades of our work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and to look ahead to what’s next.

Certainly, UMB has grown significantly since 1986. Our campus, then comprising 37 acres on Baltimore’s Westside, now spans 68 buildings over 71 urban acres. Our research activity, then totaling $35 million, is now a $500 million enterprise. Our enrollment has grown by nearly 2,000 students and now numbers 6,500.

And yet much of what defines UMB is the relative stability of our mission. UMB trains Maryland’s front-line providers, those engaging in our communities to solve problems of human health, well-being, and social justice. The number of words in our mission statement has shrunk over the years, but the intent endures: to improve the human condition and serve the public good. Continue Reading »The Case for Community Engagement

Athletics: Comments from Issue 1

In 1986, the campus was stunned by the death of Len Bias.   He was an All-American Maryland basketball player, who had just graduated and been signed by the Boston Celtics.  He died in his dorm suite of an overdose of cocaine.   The consequences were significant, including resignations, criminal cases, NCAA investigations, and serious discussions about the relationship of athletics and academics on campus, especially when it was discovered that, although he had used up his athletic eligibility, he had not had the required number of academic credits to graduate.   Chancellor (equivalent to President) John Slaughter appointed a task force to make recommendations.  Consequences, both on campus and nationally, reverberated for years, some to the present day.

A quarter of the initial issue of the Voice was dedicated to opinion pieces by faculty on the case.   Below, we reprint two of these, which are still relevant today.    One is by then Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost William (Brit) Kirwan.   Kirwan is currently System Chancellor Emeritus.  He became a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics in 2006.  Ben Holman of the Merrill College of Journalism, and a future editor of the Voice, had a particular interest in sports journalism; we also reprint his commentary from the first issue of the Voice. Continue Reading »Athletics: Comments from Issue 1

Towson University: “The Workforce Engine”

By Dean Esslinger
Department of History and Associate Vice President of International Programs (retired)
Coauthor: Towson University: The First 150 Years

Then, 1986

Although Towson University was already 120 years old in 1986, it was, in many ways a relatively new institution. For the first century of its existence, Towson’s purpose was to educate, prepare, and certify teachers for Maryland’s schools. It served that purpose well and became the largest producer of teachers in the state. Before WWII, presidents Lida Lee Tall and Mary Theresa Wiedefeld began to turn Towson into a four-year college. After the war, Presidents Earl Hawkins and James Fisher continued the transition to a liberal arts and sciences college, adding new programs and degrees, hiring strong faculty, constructing new facilities to accommodate growing number of students and faculty, and in 1976 changing the name to Towson State University to reflect the school’s new role. As its second century began in 1986, Towson was well on its way to becoming a broadly based, comprehensive university. Continue Reading »Towson University: “The Workforce Engine”

Diversity and its Discontents: How the Construct of “Diversity” Masks Demographic Realities and Diverts Attention from Rectifying Historical Wrongs

By Ruth Enid Zambrana, Department of Women’s Studies
Director, Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity


Victoria-Maria MacDonald
Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership

In this commentary we reflect on the construct of diversity, and the individuals and groups diversity data represents. What does it mean? What does it hide? What does it do? Two related phenomena have been observed: one is a number of articles critiquing diversity for its “cloudiness”; the second is that few faculty are genuinely enthusiastic about deconstructing the definition of diversity in-depth. We probe the emergence of the term “diversity” during the last decade–its evolution and meaning; we interrogate how this diffuse terminology masks racial and ethnic divides, throws a blanket over significant class/generation/and country origin distinctions and trends; and illuminate how the state of Maryland higher education system adopted and mandated particular data for diversity reporting for students and faculty. Utilizing racial/ethnic data from UMD and the Maryland Higher Education Com- mission (MHEC), we raise pointed questions for the community, and include recommendations for targeted institutional reforms. Continue Reading »Diversity and its Discontents: How the Construct of “Diversity” Masks Demographic Realities and Diverts Attention from Rectifying Historical Wrongs

The College Park Campus: Past, Present, Future

By Steve Hurtt
College of Architecture, UMCP

“What have been the most significant changes to the planning and architecture of the UM College Park campus since the inaugural issue of the Faculty Voice in 1986?” That question was put to me by James Alexander, the Voice’s new editor. An article in that 1986 issue provided a harsh critique of the campus describing it as “a sprawling settlement” one that had “grown more by accident than design, the result of an accretive process… campus pieces…added expediently,” resulting in a “legacy of happenstance growth… a fabric of buildings roads, and parking lots that defy spatial comprehension and deny any sense of place.” Roger Lewis, now Professor Emeritus (Architecture), accompanied his article with an equally scathing cartoon that likened the process of locating new buildings on campus to throwing darts at a campus map. Alexander’s follow up questions on behalf of the Voice are, “Have things gotten any better?” and, “What can you point to as improvements?” Continue Reading »The College Park Campus: Past, Present, Future

Operating revenue of UMCP: Last 17-years

Nominal Dollars

Constant (2016) Dollars (adjusted by CPI)

Constant (2016) Dollars (adjusted by CPI)













Source: http://otcads.umd.edu/bfa/budgetinfo3.htm

The Recovery of the Bald Eagle: How the First EPA Administrator and a Forest Service Biologist Saved Our National Symbol

Two adults in “West Bay” in Gogebic County, Michigan.   Credit: Rachel Eberius, MS student of Bill Bowerman

Two adults in “West Bay” in Gogebic County, Michigan.
Credit: Rachel Eberius, MS student of Bill Bowerman

Bill Bowerman, Professor and Chair
Department of Environmental Science and Technology, UMCP

This is the story of how William Ruckelshaus, the First USEPA Administrator, and John Mathisen, the Forest Wildlife Biologist on the Chippewa National Forest, working independently, were the two people most responsible for saving bald eagles.  One is known for banning a number of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from use in the environment, the other for developing a series of land management actions that protected the eagles’ nesting habitat. Continue Reading »The Recovery of the Bald Eagle: How the First EPA Administrator and a Forest Service Biologist Saved Our National Symbol

Robert Fischell: Presidential Honoree, Colleague

By William Bentley
Robert  E. Fischell Distinguished Professor
Director, Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices

Presentation of award to Robert Fischell.   White House photo

Presentation of award to Robert Fischell.
White House photo

At the end of last semester on May 19, 2016, University of Maryland Professor of Practice Dr. Robert E. Fischell was recognized by President Barack Obama as a recipient of the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed by the White House, the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The awards ceremony took place at the White House and was covered by several news agencies; I have provided the following links to the Clark School news story and to a comprehensive, endearing, and even witty 11-minute interview by ABC News’ Alex Mallin (http://www.eng.umd.edu/html/news/news_story.php?id=9495; http://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/meet-87-year-genius-inventor-credited-saving-millions-39237985). I was invited to prepare these few words for the Faculty Voice so that our campus community might learn a bit about Bob and the impact he’s had on the campus, which might not otherwise be covered in newscasts. Continue Reading »Robert Fischell: Presidential Honoree, Colleague

Voices: Jennifer Browne


Blending bowls of kibble, of fish and rice,
a man feeds lean street dogs
that slink to their appointed heaps.
Stronger, now, and nourished, they’ll
soon fatten with inevitable pups.

Where you’re concerned, my plate
will never be my own, but each
of us, some days, is wary, baring canines.
On other days, we walk away,
bandages around our bitten hands.

Stable Hand

Excluding the rooster and hen,
the animals in the Fisher Price barn
were not paired by gender.
You could tell the rooster by his comb,
but the hen wore no blush;
hens don’t.

The practical lashes of the black horse
were neither long nor sultry,
not the smoky cat eyes that stare surely
from the cellulose pens of My Little Pony.

Those ponies, too, used to be chubby,
with friendly, rounded faces
and friendly, rounded rumps,
their diet all sprinkles and happiness,
but like Strawberry Shortcake,
like Holly Hobbie and the Care Bears,
they’ve had a little work done. Now they’re leggy and slinky
and lean, sexy ponies
sold to girls age 3 and up.

Easter Island

Prior to their vanishing,
the Easter Islanders
decimated what
lay before them,
drove themselves to ruin
and, eventually,
to cannibalism.
We eat,
we alter,
we turn on each other.
So, too, for introduced species:
what there is to eat is devoured,
the other species adapt or die.

Surprised, researchers in the Yukon
observed red squirrels
killing and feeding
on tender young hares.
On my morning walk,
a grey squirrel,
inattentive to oncoming cars,
hunched, flag-tailed,
gorging on a chocolate bunny
that had fallen on the street.

The bunny mutely
regarded its consumption
with one staring candy eye.


“But by a strong effort of will I had no tears.”
St. Augustine of Hippo

The zoo’s mother sloth bear
ate her stillborn cub
and his living sibling,
whose silent parasites
she may have sensed,
in her neglected third cub.

Rising to the window,
I think of St. Monica, patron
of disappointing children,
who wept for her wayward
pagan of a prodigal, St. Augustine.

A mother makes her choices.
In grief, she gnashes, fasts,
or she preens in the sunny grass
while her nest of chicks pecks
the weakest to downy pulp.

Pray for the cubs, the chicks,
for Monica and Augustine,
for my mother, for my child
for those who wish for children,
and for those who sigh with relief
at the month’s first smears of blood.

Jennifer Browne lives with caffeine addiction, importunate curiosity, and an intermittent stutter in Frostburg, MD, where she is the Director of the Frostburg Center for Literary Arts and a Lecturer in English at Frostburg State University.

Athletic Council recommendation on alcohol sales

By Nick Hadley
Chair, UMCP Athletic Council
Department of Physics

In the spring of 2014, University of Maryland student leaders requested that the sale of alcohol at Maryland Athletic events to persons of legal age be permitted. The Athletic Council studied the issue during the 2014-2015 academic year and, in the spring of 2015, voted to recommend that the sale of alcoholic beverages at University of Maryland Athletic events be permitted.

After consultation with the University community, this recommendation received the support of President Loh. Continue Reading »Athletic Council recommendation on alcohol sales

The Joy of Sudden Discovery

By Peter Shawhan
Physics, UMCP

Being a physicist requires patience and a certain kind of faith, especially when you are investigating the fundamental nature of the universe.

This is the research world I live in:  We devise sophisticated experiments that often need extensive coaxing or reconfiguring before they work as intended.  We’re looking in some new way for a result which either fits the current theory under previously unexplored conditions, or else deviates from it in a small but significant way.  Usually we just get the results we expected, and only our colleagues who do similar research find that interesting.  If we do measure a deviation or record an unexpected signal, we have to figure out whether it’s due to some equipment problem or an overlooked systematic error before we can claim to have found something meaningful.  That is often the hardest part of the research. Continue Reading »The Joy of Sudden Discovery

Book Review: Locus of Authority; The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education

By Gerald (Jerry) Miller
Emeritus, Department of Chemistry

Just weeks after the surprise of a large state budget cut for the University in August 1990, I was elected Chair-Elect of the University Senate. I was Senate Chair in Spring, 1992, when the Senate voted to close one college, a half-dozen departments, and over two dozen academic programs. I know that excellent communication and close cooperation between the academic administrators of the University and the Senate governance structure were key factors in making the best possible decisions in those very difficult times.  Very talented and dedicated-to-the-University faculty members worked on the administrative reviews and on the Senate PCC (Programs, Curricula, and Courses) Committee reviews of academic units and academic programs considered for closure, providing the basis for the Senate’s consideration of these actions.  Many of the advances in academic quality that the University has made after this traumatic period benefitted from such collaborative governance processes. Continue Reading »Book Review: Locus of Authority; The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education

New Pathways in College Mathematics Courses

By Denny Gulick
Professor of Mathematics

During the past few years there has been a shift away from algebra courses as a first college mathematics course.  There even was a controversial article “Is Algebra Necessary” in the New York Times in 2012, written by the sociologist Andrew Hacker.  Whereas in the past, many institutions, have required a college-level algebra, recently many such institutions (such as Michigan State University) have changed the general-education mathematics requirement.   Continue Reading »New Pathways in College Mathematics Courses

Responses to Effectiveness and Efficiency 2.0

In the Endless Pursuit of Cost Savings

By Nelly P. Stromquist
International Education Policy
College of Education, UMCP

Close to the end of past academic year, the Faculty Voice (April 2016) published a statement by Dr. Don Spicer, chief information officer of the University System of Maryland, who announced efforts by USM to embark in its next phase of cost savings (“E&E20.0”).  In his article, Dr. Spicer referred to previous savings over a recent 10-year period that had produced significant cost reductions in “technology, libraries, and academic initiatives.” Going back to that precursor of the current phase, we learn that the savings from 2003 to 2013 were $356 million dollars. Continue Reading »Responses to Effectiveness and Efficiency 2.0

Images: Eagles

Eaglet.  Photographer Teryl Grubb

Eaglet. Photographer Teryl Grubb

Kendall Simon at eagle nest.   Photographer: Walter Neser

Kendall Simon at eagle nest.
Photographer: Walter Neser

Rachel Eberius holding eagle nestling.   Photographer: Bill Bowerman

Rachel Eberius holding eagle nestling.
Photographer: Bill Bowerman

Kendall Simon at eagle nest.   Photographer: Walter Neser

Kendall Simon at eagle nest.
Photographer: Walter Neser

Rachel Eberius holding eagle nestling.   Photographer: Bill Bowerman

Rachel Eberius holding eagle nestling.
Photographer: Bill Bowerman

Eaglet with 11 turtle shells.  Photographer Kendall Simon

Eaglet with 11 turtle shells.
Photographer Kendall Simon

Rachel Eberius holding eagle nestling.  Photographer: Bill Bowerman

Rachel Eberius holding eagle nestling. Photographer: Bill Bowerman



























































Photos at research sites of Bill Bowerman in Upper Peninsula, Michigan.  Pictured individuals are current/previous students of Bill.



President Thompson of Coppin State University—One Year In

President Maria Thompson.   Courtesy of Coppin State University

President Maria Thompson.
Courtesy of Coppin State University

Coppin State University is one of the institutions in the University of Maryland System, located in northwest Baltimore.  President Maria Thompson is completing her first year in the office, and offers her reflections on Coppin and her year in her office.

On July 1, 2015, I assumed the position as Coppin State University’s 7th and its first woman president in the university’s now 116 year history.  Chancellor Caret and I share the same start day. His was a reunion with a system in which he had spent many years; mine was a beginning to my new life in Maryland.

It was roughly this same time last year, April 2015, as I contemplated the decision to accept my current post as president of Coppin State University, that the unrest in Baltimore’s West side unfolded.  CNN and other media outlets converged on Baltimore and showed the city and the location of Coppin’s campus in less than a flattering light.    Fortunately, I knew better.  As a graduate of Tennessee State, not unlike Coppin, an HBCU located in an urban setting, I knew the vital role of a strong anchor institution to serve students and the community. Continue Reading »President Thompson of Coppin State University—One Year In